A Day At South Lakes Safari Zoo

Having holidayed a couple of times in the Lake District over the years one place I had been eager to visit but never got round to it was South Lakes Safari Zoo. Finally, on our most recent visit we finally got there, they always say “good things come to those who wait” and they didn’t get it wrong with this place!

The Kids on one of the sculpted animals.
The Kids on one of the sculpted animals.

South Lakes Safari Zoo – Our Visit

We arrived on a blustery, but dry day in the middle of the kid’s 6-week summer break and made our way to the entrance to pay for our entrance. One thing we couldn’t help but notice was the large signs in the car park stating no food was to be taken into the Zoo. There is a couple of reasons for this, of which I will discuss later in our review.

After gaining our entry we consulted our map and began our trail. One thing we found pretty much immediately on our walk is how various animals live together, in one very large enclosure. So much so, visitors are able to walk amongst the residents. This allows you to get pretty close with animals you wouldn’t expect to be able to at a zoo.

Me having a stare-off with an Emu
Me having a stare-off with an Emu
The kids sitting with a Penguin
The kids sitting with a Penguin

That said, some of the least friendly residents are still kept behind safety railings and/or glass to protect visitors but it certainly helps to be able to enjoy the up close and personal touch of this attraction.

A Jaguar watching its visitors
A Jaguar watching its visitors
A Gibbon soaking up the suns rays
A Gibbon soaking up the suns rays

Our Walk Around

Upon our entry, we were greeted by the site’s playground and picnic bench area. This area is away from the first lot of exhibits and fairly open for guests to relax whilst the smaller guests play safely in the large playground.

We began our walk following one of two paths, we opted to visit the giraffes and rhino’s on our way to the Worldwide Safari enclosure. The first of 3 enclosures featuring free-roaming residents. The Worldwide Safari is home to Kangaroos, Wallabies, Lemurs, Marmots and more.

A Lemur of South Lakes Safari Zoo
A Lemur of South Lakes Safari Zoo

Next up we moved onto another enclosure with free-roaming residents, this was the bird enclosure. Home to exotic birds which could fly around the guests, which was a slight eye opener for myself as I have a fear of animals that fly. I was glad that they had recently been given fresh fruit so they were happy having a nibble at their new delights.

A Macaw of South Lakes Safari Zoo
A Macaw of South Lakes Safari Zoo

After leaving the bird enclosure we were then able to walk around more of the Safari Zoo there animals were behind safety zones for a while. These guests were mainly Jaguars, Monkeys, Wolves and Flamingos. Before we headed to the penguins.

A Penguin of South Lakes Safari Zoo
A Penguin of South Lakes Safari Zoo

At the time of our arrival, the penguins were going through a period of routine maintenance so they were free-roaming through the walkways in their enclosure. Usually, the penguins are only accessible like this during feeding times when guests can pay for a feeding experience.

With Leah quite happy with her visit to her favourite animals we ventured on. Next up was the next (and last) free-roaming animal enclosure. And it was to be the best, and slightly terrifying enclosure of the attraction. The Vultures! Home to the Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Andean Condor and more!

Vultures open their wings to soak up heat from the sun, this helps to condition their wing features by drying them out in recent rainfalls.
Vultures open their wings to soak up heat from the sun, this helps to condition their wing features by drying them out in recent rainfalls.

When we arrived into the enclosure there is a straight path from one end to the exit on the far end, we started walking enjoying the sights and the vast size of the enclosure for its residents. Next up there was a slight disturbance away from the zoo that startled the birds and a few of them started flying, including the HUGE Condor. It was flying fast, and low right towards us. We swiftly ducked out of its way, and let it gain elevation to some high perches by the entrance. It was great! Sadly we didn’t get any video/photographs of this experience as I wasn’t prepared at all.

One of the resident Vultures enjoying its lunch
One of the resident Vultures enjoying its lunch

Experiences

The South Lakes Safari Zoo does boast a lot about experiences, and there is certainly plenty to feast your eyes with during your visit.

You can pay for feeding experiences such as Penguins, Big Cats and more. Or there are plenty of other up-close experiences you can enjoy. All for a very reasonable cost.

Verdict

All in all, we had a fantastic visit to South Lakes Safari Zoo, the zoo is of moderate size and all the animals look content in their surroundings. The size of the attraction is large with plenty of walking space for visitors to the site.

Leah enjoyed the "Can you jump like a Kangaroo area"
Leah enjoyed the “Can you jump like a Kangaroo area”

NO Food!

As mentioned earlier, upon our arrival and driving through the car park we were greeted by big signs in the car park stating that no food/picnics were to be taken within the zoo. As you can probably tell from my review that this is quite possibly a safe idea, walking through many of enclosures where you are up close and personal with various wild creatures it’s for the best. BUT…

There are also plenty of locations outside of enclosures where you could enjoy a nice family picnic, away from the wild animals where it would be safe. There are also various eateries selling food which can then even be taken outside to enjoy at picnic benches.

We couldn’t help but think this would be a huge ploy to entice people to spend more money on food onsite rather than enjoying a homemade prepared lunch. If staff were to encourage people to eat their home brought food in the large playground/picnic bench area which is away from the enclosures, then I would have felt more comfortable onsite. As it was we exited via the gift shop, claimed a stamp each on our hand to gain our entry back in and headed to the car to eat our lunch.

I feel that if provisions were made a little better more people could enjoy a picnic lunch within the grounds of the zoo. Even providing a sheltered locker room by the entrance which can be monitored to keep visitors safe would be ideal? As it happens, we just left the zoo for our lunch not wanting to spend more money than necessary when we’d arranged a lovely picnic for us to enjoy on our day out.

I felt this slightly spoilt our day here, but all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the attraction. We shall certainly return again.

Liked our post? Find out more about our adventures by visiting the Days Out Section of my blog.

** We paid for our own entry to South Lakes Safari Zoo for the day, we have not been asked to review or share our experience from our day. All words and opinions are our own.

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